Imagine the scene yesterday: I needed to find one piece of paper, a particular form that will accelerate the process of renewing my daughter’s passport before we travel to the United States this July, for my younger brother’s wedding.
List-maker and Type A that I am, I thought I had the perfect system in place, and that finding this form would be easy-peasy. One hour later, I had opened every file cabinet and folder and drawer in the house, with a forest worth of paperwork covering every available space in the living room. My entire bureaucratic history in Israel exposed, the last 17 years of job applications, funny newspaper articles, and editorial cartoons from the New York Times, and all the fantasies I had constructed: the new car I cannot afford, the Canyon Ranch spa that represents the vacation I so desperately need, the novel I started one night after a particularly inspiring dream.
After another hour of digging through the chaos, I found the passport file, right next to THE WEDDING BOOK. Several envelopes containing a full set of plans for my Israel wedding, from the caterer to the diamond ring to the chocolatier, to the list of potential and acceptable music which would accompany me down the aisle (Either orchestral “Field of Dreams” soundtrack or “One Heart” from “West Side Story”). All the contact information was there, ready to be activated should I get engaged, if I were getting married ten years ago; I am fairly certain that most of these people in the “field of happy occasions” have changed their numbers by now. Apparently we–my potential husband and I–were planning on traveling to the Far East for our honeymoon.
This collection of forgotten dreams represents a time in my Israel life when I was single, working nine hours a day for five days a week as a doctor with money to spare, and enjoying the freedom to spontaneously plan a night out with friends. I worked out at the gym five or six times a week, could fly out to London for the weekend, and had standing plans with a group of friends for sushi once a week.
If you had asked me then to predict my future, single motherhood by choice, reorganizing my work hours around my “mommy hours,” and a constant lack of sleep, I would have laughed in your face. I was going the “white picket fence route,” i.e. date seriously, get engaged, get married in a glorious white dress I had designed myself, play a little with my spouse before having children and finally owning a house, and being owned by a cat. Maybe even working less and pursuing my photography, because we would be a successful double income family. There would be winter vacation in Eilat, summer vacation visiting my family in the United States, dance recitals and Valentine’s Day romance, a life of “honey” as we say here in Israel.
I believed in Love with a capital “L.” I believed that moving to Israel would allow me to fulfill my potential in every way.
Then came the broken engagement and the litany of hideous dating experiences, and the decision not to wait to find my “knight in shining armor” in order to become a mother. Consultations with rabbis and doctors and my life coach, one year of fertility treatments, and voila! today I am the happy, tired mother of a beautiful 4.5-year-old; a girl who brings more joy to my world than I ever imagined, a human being who challenges me every day and pushes me to the greatest heights I have ever achieved.
But somewhere along the way I seem to have lost that faith that pure love exists, that a man would want me now that I have the responsibilities of a child and just a little belly fat to prove that I carried her for nine months, and then nursed for another year and a half. I can’t help but fear that no man, no matter how much he loves me, could love my child enough and be a proper father to her, this little person who constantly hugs and kisses and who is very attuned to how others feel about her.
Recently I started watching reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” on cable television and experienced an epiphany: these characters are majorly talented within their profession and have major issues when it comes to relationships. Seriously screwed up in the ideals of stability and intimacy, they manage to find someone who is just as messed up as they are, and for the briefest of moments surrounded by soap opera medical drama, they feel comfortable enough to expose their most vulnerable selves.
I know that television is not real, but now, suddenly, I am open to the idea that I am and will be worthy of love, someone who will take me in with my daughter and my emotional baggage, and though we will both be imperfect, we could find a new balance together. I have fully embraced the fact that I am an amazing woman with many more good years left in me, and that a man would be a fool to pass me by.
So I have come up with a new plan for my personal life: meet a good man, hang out for a while and get to know each other, get married with a few friends present at Jerusalem City Hall, and then throw a beach party on my favorite patch of sand in Hertzelia.
No shoes allowed, bikinis and swimming encouraged. There will be a barbecue and sushi and lots of quality chocolate. Then the three of us–my daughter, my husband, and I–leave for our honeymoon to the Far East.